The loss of farm animal genetic resources is a threat to food security nationally and globally. Using a small group of high-performing breeds for food production risks the loss of breed diversity and the genetic security it represents. All of Norway's native farm-animal breeds have an important role in conserving the breed diversity of farm animals globally.
Management of native farm animal genetic resources
Through its endorsement of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Norway has committed to the sustainable management of its biological diversity, including farm animal genetic resources. The Norwegian Genetic Resource Centre has an overarching responsibility for breeds native to Norway, and a particular responsibility for monitoring and supporting the endangered and critically endangered native breeds. The commercial breeding organizations Geno, Norsvin and Norwegian Sheep and Goat Association are responsible for the breeding programs for their respective non-endangered national breeds. These breeds are not included in the national conservation program. Norwegian Horse Association and the native horse breeding organizations are responsible for the conservation of their respective breeds.
The Norwegian Genetic Resource Centre develops, and is responsible for, the review of the national action plan for farm animal genetic resources.
Norwegian breeding is primarily organized by cooperative enterprises, and is characterized by broad breeding targets for mixed breeds and a high level of adherence from active farmers.
In all breeding controlled by humans, it is vital that knowledge, planning, and execution ensure sustainable breeding. This means the animals' desired traits are improved (their production and exteriors), while avoiding inbreeding.